You might have complete control over your home’s carbon footprint, maybe even your business too – if so, well done, and can you please tell us how you’ve done it?! However, a much-overlooked area is your pension, savings, investments, mortgage or bank account. The interest you earn on your money is made by banks investing in other companies: you could unwittingly be supporting fossil fuel companies with your own money! Scroll now for resources on why this matters, and what you can do about it!
WHY DOES OUR MONEY MATTER TO THE CLIMATE?:
Get a quick overview of the issues by watching this short video from the BBC, “Is your pension contributing to climate change?” (4 mins).
Learn about an alternative way of think about our economy “doughnut economics” in this BBC podcast. “Imagine a ring doughnut. This is the basis of an idea about how we could run the world in a way that gives everyone what they need – food, homes, healthcare and more – and save the planet at the same time. Economist Kate Raworth, who came up with the idea, explains how it works.”
READ: our blog about “Greening Your Money” by Simon Grover
Probably your largest investment that you don’t even think about, what companies are your workplace or private pension savings invested in? Look at the Make My Money Matter campaign for ideas on finding out, and asking your employer to make sure their scheme is a good one. Ask them if they have signed the new Green Pensions Charter, or if they will consider it.
If you have pension pots from previous employers, you could look into transferring them to a more eco-friendly provider where your money can be invested differently. But any decisions about your pension should be taken with appropriate financial advice. Perhaps try a well-known platform or investment manager like Nutmeg, Hargreaves Lansdown or M&G. Or speak to an independent financial advisor.
There are now a huge range of ‘green’ investment funds, that you can invest in through ISAs or other investment products. You could be investing in eco-minded companies through shares and bonds, or even in low carbon property and infrastructure. Watch out for greenwashing and ‘too good to be true’ offers. Perhaps try a well-known platform or investment manager like Nutmeg, Hargreaves Lansdown or M&G.
There is a very useful guide to fossil free investing on Ethical Consumer magazine. Whilst you need to be a subscriber to read the ranking tables, much of the article is freely available if you scroll down.
BANKING AND SAVING:
Your bank uses your money to invest. So what is it investing in? It’s not easy to find out, but you can switch to a bank that is rated highly for its ethical operations. There are lots of lists, including this one: new-money.co.uk/nm-blog/top-5-ethical-bank-accounts-for-2020
Also note that INSURANCE companies have massive funds to invest – so how are your insurance premiums being used? Ask your Insurance company.
Although a mortgage is a loan to you, you pay interest on that, so you are significantly supporting your mortgage provider. The Ecology Building Society is well known as a ‘green’ lender, even giving better deals to eco-friendly homes. But there are others too. For example, see this article.
Of course, the money you spend also has an impact on the world. Green shopping gets a lot of attention, but what about your everyday household bills? As well as choosing a ‘green’ energy supplier, you can invest environmentally to reduce your bills. For example, getting solar panels and insulation to reduce your heating or electricity bills. Getting an electric car can even be seen as an investment in reduced fuel bills over time.